Monday, June 8, 2015
Through History with The Monday Quiz: the 1010s
The reason why things are the way they are is because of how people reacted to the way things were. It's not a simple process. The idea of "Bulgaria" seemed like it might be in trouble in the 1010s, but we've still got a Bulgaria all these years later. The Kalbid Dynasty must have seemed like the natural order of things to people living under its rule, but the social landscape of its island has changed considerably in the subsequent millennium. Further east, however, Mahmud of Ghazni was creating new human geographies the old fashioned way -- by the sword -- and laying the foundation for cultural patterns and problems that are very much part of our modern world.
1. One of many candidates for the honor of “the first novel” is The Tale of Genji, a sprawling tale of aristocratic life written in or around the 1010s. In what country was it written?
2. In 1011, a Danish army captured and eventually killed Archbishop Ælfheah, the head of the English church, after laying siege to his cathedral town. What city must the Danes have been attacking?
3. In 1014, after his armies put the Bulgarians to rout at the Battle of Kleidion, Emperor Basil II – who considered Bulgaria his own possession – decided to send a strong message to the "rebels." First, he had the thousands of Bulgarian prisoners of war divided into groups of one hundred. Then, he ordered them all blinded, except for one man in each group who was left with one eye, so that he could lead the other ninety-nine home. Of what then-formidable state was Basil II the tough-minded ruler?
4. Also in 1014, Brian Boru died. Brian Boru had succeeded his brother as King of Munster, then gained power over Leinster, and then became nominally king over all… well, all of what?
5. In 1016, Earthquakes caused extensive damage to this 300 year old building in Jerusalem. Obviously, it was subsequently repaired. What do we call it?
6. After a long power struggle, Yaroslav the Wise becomes Grand Prince of Rus' in 1019, consolidating the first powerful state of the Eastern Slavs. “During his lengthy reign,” says the Britannica, “Rus' reached the zenith of its cultural flowering and military power.” What city was Yaroslav’s capital?
7. In 1017, under their new emperor Rajendra Chola, troops of the powerful Chola Empire completed the conquest of this large island. These days, the island is a country in its own right. What’s it called?
8. Old books don’t always include a copyright date, but the “Dresden Codex,” of which a page is shown here, might well have been written within a century of the 1010s! Or maybe not. There’s more than one school of thought on the matter. Anyway, “Iconographic and ethnographic evidence strongly suggest,” it says here, “that it was produced in the Yucatan, possibly in the Chichen Itza.” That makes this one of four surviving books from what civilization?
9. After the fall of the Samanid Empire, Mahmud of Ghazni led the Ghaznavid Empire from 998 to 1030. Among his seventeen separate campaigns of conquest in the rich territories to the southeast, there were major ones in 1013, 1014, and 1018.
Mahmud is a highly controversial historical figure. In what modern country do you suppose he is seen as a religious hero? And in which country is he seen as a monster who terrorized innocent populations, pillaging and destroying temples?
10. Ja'far al-Kalbi, an Emir of the Kalbid dynasty, died in 1019. The Kalbids ruled over this island, growing prosperous on exports of citrus, sugar, and wheat, from 948 to 1053. What is the island called?
What about the 1000s?
1. The Magyar tribes settled down and established Hungary.
2. "Paying the Danegeld" is giving Danish Vikings money not to attack you. It's something worth buying, but it's expensive and tends to attract repeat customers.
3. The fall of the Samanids was a low point in Persian culture.
4. Hà Nội was the new capital of Vietnam.
5. Iceland has a reputation as a pragmatic land where the social contract is taken seriously, which makes the story of how the national religion was referred to a respected arbiter for a good think quite charming.
6. The Caliphate of Córdoba occupied much of Spain.
7. The future king of Scotland was MacBeth.
8. The city of Oslo celebrated its millennium in 2000.
9. The new star of 1006 was a supernova.
10. The eruption of Mount Merapi may not have destroyed the Kingdom of Medang all by itself, but it certainly shook things up in Java, which is in modern Indonesia.
Toppest honors go to Susan; Mrs.5000 and DrSchnell also made history with strong performances on the first ever THwtNMQ.